RIP Kenya's Nobel laureate Wangari Maathai who has died in Nairobi while undergoing cancer treatment. She was 71.
Based in Kenya, The Green Belt Movement is a women's civil society organization advocating for human rights and supporting good
governance and peaceful democratic change through the protection of the
environment. Maathai began it as a grassroots tree planting program to address the challenges of mass
deforestation - a process that had begun with colonialism but had
hastened since independence, reducing the lush, green, fertile land of plenty
she'd known as a child to a deforested wilderness. Her reasoning was simple:
"Trees would provide a supply of wood that would enable women to cook nutritious foods. They
would also have wood for fencing and fodder for cattle and goats, The trees would offer shade for humans and...
Beyond the Book
A Short History of Kenya
Kenya is located on the East Coast of Africa, bordered by the Indian
Ocean, Tanzania, Uganda, Sudan, Ethiopia and Somalia (map). The Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama was the first European on
record to visit the area in 1498. Portuguese rule officially began in
1505, bringing the Portuguese a useful revenue source from tribute payments, but
also strategic control of the Indian Ocean allowing them to extract high tariffs
on items transported by sea.
By the 17th century, Portuguese influence in the area was on the wane due to British, Dutch and Arab incursions. Omani Arabs colonized the coastal areas in the 19th century, even moving their
capital to Zanzibar (an island off the coast of Tanzania) in 1839. Their